Are Ring Pops Vegan?
If you've ever wished for gaudy jewelry that was edible too, you've probably wondered, "Are Ring Pops vegan?" Fortunately for your jewelry-candy needs, Ring Pops are generally considered vegan.
In fact, over the years, Ring Pops have been included on many lists of vegan-friendly candies. Therefore, most vegans feel okay about eating these sugary treats and sharing them with their friends.
What's in a Ring Pop?
There are a number of varieties of Ring Pops. Not only are there the classic fruity ones, but there are also Twisted, Sour and shaped Ring Pops.
The ingredients vary slightly among the various flavors of Ring Pops, but the classic fruity flavors usually have similar ingredients. Here's what's typically in a classic Ring Pop, such as the cherry variety.
Ring Pop Ingredients
- Corn Syrup
- Buffered lactic acid
- Natural and artificial flavors
- Pear juice concentrate
- Red 3
- Blue 1
Is the Sugar Safe?
Some vegans opt to use only sugar that has been certified vegan. Otherwise, the sugar may have been processed using bone char. This animal-derived substance is used to whiten sugar.
Ring Pops do not specify whether their sugar is processed with animal products. If you maintain 100-percent strictness on animal-derived products in your food and personal care items, you might want to steer clear of Ring Pops just to be safe.
Other vegans, however, stick to more of a 99.9-percent rule. They try to avoid obvious animal ingredients but do not stress over trace amounts of animal products in the manufacturing process. In the case of sugar, the animal bones do not become mixed in with the sugar, so some vegans consider the final product acceptable to eat.
Where Does Lactic Acid Come From?
Lactic acid sounds like the name of an ingredient that comes from milk and is, therefore, not vegan. However, lactic acid usually comes from plants. In most cases, lactic acid is derived through a fermentation process that involves beet sugar or cornstarch. Therefore, lactic acid is usually not a concern for vegans.
What Is Meant by "Natural Flavors"?
That's a great question. Unfortunately, this term can be a rather mysterious one. "Natural flavors" could come from plant or animal sources. Although Ring Pops are generally accepted as vegan, this ambiguity may leave you hesitant to include Ring Pops on a vegan diet.
Does the Red Color Come from Animals?
Some red food dyes are animal-based. The color is derived from insects and is used to turn foods red. This additive is usually labeled "Red 4" on ingredient lists.
Standard Ring Pop varieties do not use Red 4. Instead, Ring Pops typically use Red 3. This particular dye is also known as erythrosine, and it is made from coal tar. It's far from healthy from you--in fact, the FDA has banned it in some applications--but it is vegan.
Are Ring Pop Gummies Vegan?
Although traditional Ring Pops are generally considered vegan-friendly, Ring Pop Gummies are certainly not vegan. These chewy cousins of regular Ring Pops contain gelatin. This ingredient is a protein that comes straight from animals. Gelatin is extracted from animal parts, such as tendons and ligaments, by boiling them. Therefore, Ring Pop Gummies are definitely a snack to stay away from when you're following a vegan lifestyle.
Vegan Ring Pop Alternatives
If some of the ambiguity about Ring Pop ingredients leaves you hesitant to indulge in this 100-carat snack, there are plenty of vegan-certified candies out there that will take their place nicely. No, you probably won't be able to wear them on your finger, but they'll taste just as delicious.
YumEarth manufactures a line of vegan suckers that are colored with dyes derived from plants like black carrots and pumpkin. GoOrganic also manufactures hard candy that is popular among vegans. Flavors include Pomegranate and Blood Orange.
You can even make homemade vegan suckers with certified vegan sugar, corn syrup and lollipop molds. The trickiest part is heating the ingredients to exactly 250 degrees Fahrenheit, but you'll have the process down after your first few attempts.
Are Ring Pops for You?
How about you? Will you be eating Ring Pops from now on, or are you going to opt for a different candy instead? Comment below with your thoughts, and be sure to share this article with your friends so they, too, can make an informed decision about Ring Pops.